By Alice Roche Cody
Indoor Track & Field finished a fantastic season with beautiful spring weather for its outside inter-squad meet on March 11, followed by a socially distant trackside team celebration. It proved a fitting end to a season unlike any other, due to pandemic protocols that led to less competitions and outdoor practices and meets.
"We had a short season in crazy times, but everyone worked so hard," said Coach LaBarre. "We built team cohesiveness when everything worked against us. We are proud of how this team united, and we enjoyed spending every afternoon together. From freezing in the parking lot, to shoveling the track, to participating in our outrageous inter-squad competitions, everyone participated with grace, smiles, and no complaints. Everyone embodied the true characteristics of a knight. It was an absolute pleasure to coach this special team."
During the shortened season, the Knights competed in dual meets at Newark Academy, Morristown Beard, and Mount Saint Mary's. Meets against Bernards High and Pingry were cancelled due to weather and the pandemic. In addition, GSB hosted the First Annual Indoor Shot-Put Invitational and participated in the Rebel Shot-Put Meet in Toms River and the High Intensity Indoor Long Jump International in Fairfield. At the Adidas Indoor Nationals in early March, Knight Joe Licata '22 threw a personal record of 53'-7.5" in the shot put, placing 14th overall against throwers from around the country.
For the final inter-squad meet, the Knights had a strong showing, despite a few false starts. "We didn't need an opponent to run hard today – we competed like champions!" said Coach LaBarre. "Some of us had to re-run, but everyone kept their chins up. A special acknowledgment to Will Strong '22 for breaking the school record in the 600-meter, previously owned by Niels Rongen '20. Alex Tulenko '22 and Kellyn Bucceri '22 established new school records in the 60-meter hurdles. We could not have asked for better weather to complete our indoor season!"
At the team gathering, Coach LaBarre singled out her seniors, who exemplified leadership, courage, and strength as they welcomed and embraced their younger teammates. "Our seniors made Track & Field fun for everyone," she said. "Thank you to Sohan De Silva '21, Hayley Armstrong '21, Ava Escousse '21, Brian Young '21, Ansh Patel '21, Arnav Patel '21, and Zach Yekta '21. All the best next year!"
Co-captains, Hayley and Sohan, served as role models who led by example. "Our co-captains kept our team informed and made things easier for the coaches," said Coach LaBarre. "If we needed to get information out, our co-captains were ready to relay it. Hayley and Sohan both served as the glue to our team."
Shout-outs also went to Steven Leo, head coach of strength and conditioning, who kept team members strong and made every accommodation to plan workouts in the Fitness Center. Assistant Coaches Mike Parker (distance) and Pete Roslund (throws) also proved invaluable. "Both assistant coaches completed our team and offered endless enthusiasm, expertise, and passion," said Coach LaBarre. "They were the driving force who worked out with and cared for each member of our team." Team Moms – Mrs. Rongen and Mrs. Licata – further supported and cared for the team.
More than ever, this Track & Field season required a joint effort, and Coach LaBarre extended her gratitude to GSB families. "Our sport isn't easy in the best of times, and this year we trained in the most undesirable conditions," she said. "Thank you for believing in us and allowing us the opportunity to coach your children."